Hank’s cabin – Route Bay
In the early 70’s, Eloise and I drove to Dryden to visit Hank and his wife Ora at their hunting cabin on Route Bay. It sat at the end of a long bay with a beautiful beach running the full width of the bay. It was in a very remote area with no one else living within at least thirty miles.
Hank wanted to drive us around on the old bush trails to see the area and at the same time check for moose. Just before we were to drive off a woman that Ora worked with at the mill arrived with her husband. Hank quickly advised them where we were going and invited them to join us. The truck Hank drove was an old delivery van that sat six with room in the back for hauling game (moose) back to the cabin.
All the trails we drove on were left over from woodcutters cutting pulp wood for the mill in Dryden. The trails were very rough and the woods were starting to grow back in, making passage difficult for vehicles. The van we were in was used by Hank for hunting so it went places vehicle were not suppose to go. Any brush was simply pushed aside or driven over. Young trees up to four inches were knocked down, adding a few more scratches and dents to the body of the vehicle.
Hank was driving while the male guest sat by the right front door. I was sandwiched in between them. The women were in the back seat and each sat behind their husbands.
We spent a couple of hours surveying the area and knocking down our share of trees. We had a few beers with us but the temperature kept rising and the beer quickly disappeared. I had known Hank and Ora for many years so I quickly picked up on the fact that Hank was not impressed by the man who sat beside me and talked endlessly in an effort to convince us with his outdoor knowledge and hunting experience.
At some point Hank said we would head for home to cool off and have a few more beers. The woods trail back to the cabin approached the bay from the bottom and then when it was about thirty feet from the lake it turned a sharp right and proceeded to the cabin about a thousand feet away. The brush all around us was thick so it was difficult to navigate the rough road very fast.
The trail was about twenty feet higher than the lake. As we approached the right angle turn, heading down hill, Hank started stamping his foot on the floor boards and mumbled something about the brakes not working. We missed the turn and continued downhill in the thick woods, hitting and knocking down some good sized trees with the front bumper. The women were all yelling in the back seat as they bounced around and had no idea what was happening. (Other than the fact were were off the trail and heading for the lake.)
The fellow beside me was very excited and kept asking Hank, “What’s wrong, what’s wrong?” Hank yelled back, “My brakes have failed!”
Knowing Hank as well as I did, I could see he was not in a panic and had a smirk on his face as we bounced and crashed our way down the hill, heading for the lake. It was at this point the man on my right opened the truck door and jumped into the thick woods. The next tree we passed on the right slammed the door shut and the truck left the trail and landed in the lake with a huge splash.
It was instantly apparent that the water was only two feet deep and we did not even get our feet wet. Hank swung the truck to the right and then drove along the beautiful sandy beech all the way to his dock where he easily took the ramp back up the hill and parked by the cabin. Hank and I and our wifes were having a great laugh when our former passenger walked up to the cabin. We tried not to laugh but it was difficult.
The guys wife was very unhappy with her husband and quickly pointed to her watch and said they were late and had to get going. As they got into their vehicle we could hear the wife chewing on her husband for bailing out of the truck and abandoning her to her fate.
When pressed, Hank admitted his truck brakes were fine.